VIC-10 / Max Machine / UltiMax (NTSC)
VIC-10 / Max Machine / UltiMax (NTSC)



Setname:  vic10   
Year: 1982
Manufacturer: Commodore Business Machines
Status: good  works
Type: Home Computer
Emulation info
Overall emulation:  good   
Color emulation:  good  
Sound emulation:  good  
Graphics emulation:  good  
Savestates:  supported   

Tech info
 Base hardware: (available in all slot configurations)
M6510 ("u3")cpu 1000000 Hz
MOS6566 ("u2")cpu 1000000 Hz
MOS6526 ("u9")cpu 1000000 Hz
Speaker ("mono")audio
MOS6581 ("u6")audio 1000000 Hz
Screen ("screen")raster horizontal 418 x 235 @ 59.637408
Media devices
cartridge ("exp") cartridge cart 80, e0
RAM options
4K 4096
Software lists

 Optional hardware: (available with specific slot configurations)

 Configure the slot options for vic10:
 Slot Value

Show detailed info about 'Slot Options' of this system
Slot options

NameValueCompatible device(s)
joy1 joyvcs_joystick
joy2 joy vcs_joystick
tape c1530 c1530

Romset info
ROM NameSizeCRC32SHA1Dump StateBIOS option
6703.u4256 nodump


* CPU: MOS 6510 (6502 compatible) 1 MHz
* Co-Processor: SID (Sound chip), 6566 VIC-II (Video chip)
* RAM: 2.5 kb
* ROM: 2kb
* Text Modes: 40 x 25
* Graphic Modes: 320 x 200
* Colors: 16
* Sound: SID (Sound Interface Device) : 3 voices, 9 octaves
* I/O Ports: Power in (DIN7), Audio output (minijack), Cartridge port, RF TV out, Cassette interface (bus), 2 x joystick connectors
* Keyboard: Flat membrane keyboard, 4 function keys, 2 arrow keys, <-, CONTROL, RUN/STOP, SHIFT LOCK, C=, SHIFT (x2), CLR HOME, INST/DEL, RESTORE, RETURN
* Built In Language: none; MAX BASIC was available on cartridge


MESS supports the emulation of max with the following devices

- a datasette, using "cassette" (cass) device, for tapes in .tap and .wav format
- a cart slot, "cartridge" (cart), for cart dumps in .crt, .e0 and .f0 format

Also notice that a "quickload" (quik) feature is available for .t64, .p00 and .prg files.


Cassette images can have the .wav or .tap extensions (formally .t64 images are tapes as well, but we currently load them through -quickload). To run a .tap or a .wav image you have to launch

mess max -cass "C:\pathtogame\gamename.tap"

Once you're at the BASIC prompt you have various options:

* to load a BASIC program from the cassette


* to load the first program from the cassette


The message "Press play on tape" will appear, and you will have to enter the MESS internal UI to start the tape (press Tab and choose "Tape Control", then press "Play"). Once the program is loaded, a "READY" message will be prompted and you can run your program by simply typing


or the appropriate SYS call.

Also, MESS supports saving to tape. Therefore, you can write your own BASIC programs and save them using the command


The message "Press play & record on tape" will appear, and you will have to enter the MESS internal UI to start recording the tape (press Tab and choose "Tape Control", then press "Record").


Cartridges may have extension .crt, .e0 and .f0. Files with boot-sign in it are recognized as ROMs. Some cartridges may require more than one image: if you have any of these, please contact us because we would like to fix support for them.

* .e0 and .f0 files are loaded to 0xe000 and 0xf000 respectively.
* .crt ROMs are loaded to the addresses specified in crt file.

To use "cartridge" (cart) slot in MESS, simply launch

mess max -cart "C:\pathtogame\gamename.crt"

and the game will start (we currently don't support images which require multiple files to be loaded at different locations, because we don't have access to any of these images). Most of the Max Machine carts should work. Also a few C64 carts could work, due to the similarity of the hardware, but be warned that most will fail.
Note that .prg files are often cartridge images as well, but in MESS they are assigned to the quickloader (see below).


A quickloader is available via command line and it supports program image files with extensions .prg, .p00 and .t64 (the latter are tape images, but most of them are loaded to a fixed address). The quickloader loads the program into memory and sets the program end pointer. It shall work with most programs. To use the "quickload" (quik) device in MESS: launch

mess max -quik "C:\pathtogame\gamename.prg"

and simply type the command


to start the program.


This system requires full keyboard emulation to work correctly. At startup, full keyboard emulation mode is enabled by default. Whilst in full keyboard emulation mode, some key associated functionality may be disabled (like the Esc key for EXIT). The keyboard emulation mode is toggled using the Scrl Lock key (by default).

History and Trivia

The Commodore Max Machine was released after the VIC 20 and at the same time as the C64. It was intended to be Commodore's low-end offering ($150-$180), whereas the C64 was envisioned as a high-end product ($595).

The system was very inexpensive and lacked even basic features such a user expansion port. In reality, the Max Machine was a severely limited C64. Several Max software titles could actually be run on the C64.

Some production models used the same video chip as the C64, while others used a 6566 (the NTSC C64 uses the 6567; the PAL C64 uses a 6569). Regardless of video chip, both variants offered only a single graphics resolution of 320x200 and could not utilize the "multi-color" functions available on the C64. The SID sound chip is identical to the one found in its C64 cousin. BASIC was stored on cartridge rather than in ROM.

Though initially planned for world-wide release, the Commodore Max Machine was sold primarily in Japan. It was advertised in North America under the name ULTIMAX, as well as in Germany under the name VC-10.

(info from


* Ultimax at Secret Weapons of Commodore --
* Max at --

Edit the History info for this game.


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